Cultural Studies

M.A. Track in Cultural Studies

The M.A. in Cultural Studies requires 30 credits of graduate work. At least 15 credits must be taken within the department (including no more than three credits of CST 599 Indpendent Studies).

Full Information on Graduate admissions and M.A. and Ph.D. degree structure can be found in the Department Handbook (available as a PDF).

In addition to the minimum requirements of the Graduate School, the following are required:

A. Course Requirements

The following courses must be taken by all M.A. students.

  1. CST 502: Theories in Cultural Studies
  2. CST 510: History of Cultural Studies
  3. CST 609: Advanced Topics in Cultural Theory
  4. Two CLT/CST courses numbered 600 and higher

B. First-Year Evaluation

In the middle of the student's second semester of graduate work, the director of graduate studies or director of cultural studies prepares a file for the student's first-year evaluation. It consists of: 1) the student's grades and (2) letters from the professors in all the student's classes. Students may submit any other additional relevant material they choose. The graduate studies committee will evaluate the dossier and decide whether the student should continue in the program.

C. Satisfactory Progress for the M.A.

Because so many factors influence students' satisfactory progress towards the degree, it is important for students to be aware of and to monitor their own situation. The following define the minimum limits for satisfactory progress for full-time students:

  1. Maintain a 3.5 grade point average, with no course below B-, in each semester of graduate study. There is a one-year maximum limit on incompletes. A student may accumulate no more than two incomplete grades in any one semester or she/he will no longer be considered a Student in Good Standing, a prerequisite to continue in the program. As a result, the student will likely face dismissal from the program.
  2. Receive a satisfactory first-year evaluation in the spring semester of the first year of study.

D. Foreign Language Requirements

Candidates for the MA are required to demonstrate competence in either one principal foreign language (that is, any language that is of principal importance to the student’s course of study) or two secondary languages. English may count as a principal language for non-Native speakers.

To demonstrate competence in the principal foreign language, students must take for credit and earn a grade of B or better in at least one graduate or advanced undergraduate literature course conducted in the language (final papers may be written in English). Or, students may enroll in an independent study. In special cases, students may substitute an advanced language examination of three hours in lieu of course work. The examination consists of three sections: a) oral comprehension, defined as the ability to understand and summarize in English the contents of two graduate level lectures conducted in the foreign language; b) written comprehension, defined as the ability to understand and answer questions on a moderately long (approximately ten pages) theoretical, critical, or scholarly article; c) translation skills, shown through translating into English an advanced-level literary passage. The student is permitted to use a dictionary for part c but not for part b. If the principal foreign language being examined is a Classical language (e.g., Classical Chinese, Sanskrit, Greek), the three-hour test will consist of translations at an appropriately advanced level.

Competence in the two secondary languages can be demonstrated by: 1) earning a grade of B or better in a graduate translation course or 2) passing a translation examination to be taken with a dictionary.

E. Master's Examination

The student will take a two-hour oral examination in the second year of graduate study or submit a master’s thesis. The Master's examination committee consists of three members of the faculty, at least two of whom are members of the CAT core faculty.   The student's advisor normally chairs the Committee, and the other two members are chosen by the director of graduate studies in consultation with the student and his/her advisor.

Reading List for the Examination:

Cover sheet for reading list

The student, in consultation with the examination committee, prepares a list of works in each of the following three areas: A) History and theory of cultural studies; B) A cultural phenomenon; C) a historical period.   Each of the other reading lists will consist of 15-20 primary texts. The student’s examination committee will review and approve the exam lists before the student submits the signature sheet to the Director of Graduate Studies for final pre-examination review of requirements. At the two- hour oral exam at least two of the three members of the examination committee must be present.

Thesis Substitute for Master's Examination

Instead of taking the M.A. examination students may substitute a thesis for the Master's examination. The thesis must be on a substantive topic in cultural studies requiring original research. The student will form a committee of three faculty, at least two of whom must be from the CAT core faculty, who will supervise the project and give approval.

F. Advisor and Mentor

The Graduate School requires all students to have an advisor. The director of cultural studies serves as advisor to all entering students during their first year and helps them plan their programs. Before the end of the first academic year, full-time students should choose one official graduate advisor from the Comparative Literary and Cultural Studies graduate faculty. Advisor and student meet regularly to discuss the student's progress and program. Advisors are normally chosen for one year, but students are, of course, free to change advisors and are encouraged to consult with all members of the faculty.

Incoming students are also urged to choose a faculty member to serve as a mentor who can meet with the student to discuss a variety of concerns not necessarily involving course work.

G. Residence Requirement

The University requires that students receiving a M.A. must take at least two consecutive semesters of full-time graduate study, this usually means 12 credits per semester.

"For general information on Stony Brook University's graduate programs, go to the Graduate Bulletin" Graduate Bulletin



For detailed information click here

CAT Colloquium Series

April 1, 2015

Professor Gregory Ruf will be presenting "The Legend of White Horse: A haunting tale of community origins" and Laura Abbasi-Lemon will be presenting "On MILFs: The Rise of the Pornified New Momism."

Humanities Institute
1:00-2:30 p.m.

Provost's Graduate Student 

Lecture Series

Speaker: Beth Tsai
Lecture: Tsai Ming-liang at the Museum: Cinephilia, the French Connection, and Cinema in the Gallery 

Humanities Institute room 1008, Wednesday, February 25,2015, 3:00 - 4:00 pm
Spring 2015 

Co-Sponsored Events


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2015 Philosophy and the Arts Conference

March 27th and 28th, 2015 in Manhattan

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Susan Bordo, Otis A. Singletary Chair in the Humanities at the University Kentucky

March 25, 2015  - 11:00 -1:00 p.m. 

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Italy across the Mediterranean:
Politics, Space, and Visual Culture from the Middle Ages to Early Modernity


For detailed information click here


New MA/PhD in Women's and Gender Studies

The Department is pleased to announce that the new MA/PhD program in Women's and Gender Studies has received official certification.  "Click here for more information"


Kadji Amin published "'Blesser' le spectateur blanc américain: Les Nègres aux États-Unis, 1961-64 et 2003" in Études françaises.

Kadji Amin has been awarded a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellowship on SEX at the University of Pennsylvania Humanities Forum for the 2015-16 academic year.

Kadji Amin has been awarded a Humanities Institute at Stony Brook Faculty Fellowship for Spring semester of 2015 for the completion of his book, Queer Attachments.

Raiford Guins "Punk archaeologists" explain that they went looking for more than just video-game cartridges in a New Mexico landfill.  

Nancy Hiemstra has been selected to receive the 2014-15 Graduate and Faculty Research Program in the Arts, Humanities and Lettered Social Sciences.

Robert Harvey has been appointed to the rank of Distinguished Professor.

Izabela Kalinowska-Blackwood is curating a film series at the IWM in Vienna.


Beth Tsai has been selected to receive the 2014-15 Graduate and Faculty Research Program in the Arts, Humanities and Lettered Social Sciences.

Kudos Newsletter 

July 2014

The Humanities Institute

Cultural Analysis and Theory • Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, NY 11794-5355 • Phone: 631.632.7460 • Fax: 631.632.5707
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